Race number 37 and state number 26 is in the books! I like to have a couple days after a race to process everything about the race and remember all I can about what happened over the course of 26.2 miles. Without further ado, here is the Twin Cities Marathon race recap!
I’ll start the night before the race. Susan and Johnny had a work party (which I mentioned here) so Lane and I just stayed at the apartment and watched some Person of Interest with our pasta dinner. I was tired by 10, so I went to bed early and I was OUT! I don’t even remember hearing Susan and Johnny come in the apartment!
We were close to the race start, so our drive/walk in the morning didn’t take long. It was really nice outside, about 42 degrees, so it was comfortable without being freezing. Before the race I was able to meet up with my old roommate from our DC Intern days, Kate! She was a factor in my picking Twin Cities Marathon too! When I talked about not being sure what race to do, she had read it and told me she was running Twin Cities, that and Susan being there were the deciding factors! It was so nice to catch up, even just for a few minutes!
The race started out great. I felt comfortable, my body felt good, I wasn’t overly hot or cold and the crowd support was incredible! My pace was around 9 min/mile for the first 17-19 miles. Around mile 19 my hip flexor tightened up on me and my pace dropped pretty dramatically after that. I’ve been having problems with my hip flexor for about a year and a half now. After long runs (anything over 10-12 miles, generally), it tightens up and if I stop at all, it can be hard to get going again. It doesn’t hurt and the more I move, the better it feels. I haven’t actually had anyone look at it, so I am self diagnosing as hip flexor, but from everything I’ve read, it makes the most sense.
Anyway, back to the race…I kept running because I knew the difference in stride between running and walking would make my hip flexor tighten up more. I kept reminding myself that even the difference between a walk and a slow run will get me to the finish line faster. I also didn’t feel bad. My legs felt good, I wasn’t having stomach issues, and mentally, I was good. The last two races my head gave out before my body did and that’s tough for me to deal with. When I feel good physically, why does my mind make me want to quit? I kept reminding myself this time around that I was feeling good and there was no reason to stop and it worked.
The other thing that kept me going was dedicating miles to other people. It was my dear friend Kenda’s birthday on Sunday, so I thought about her during a few miles. My grandpa’s health hasn’t been great for the past few weeks and I thought about him several times. When the song “Cups” came on, I knew my grandma was with me. When “Work” by Jimmy Eat World came on, I thought about my uncle Steve that passed away a few years ago. I read Hungry Runner Girl everyday and she’s been training for a sub-3 hour marathon and her race was supposed to be on Saturday but she got sick the week before and was unable to run. Thinking about what she and others are dealing with is alot greater than being tired. One of my old teachers used to talk about “offering up” your pain and thinking of it as a gift rather than a burden and that is what I did during the race.
It also helped a ton that I was able to see Susan, Lane and Johnny several times during the race. When I can mentally break up the race into smaller sections, I don’t think about how much I have left, I think about that it is only a mile, two miles until I can see my people again. It is only x miles/time until I take my next Honey Stinger and get a boost of energy. When I think about a marathon as a whole, 26.2 miles seems really far! When I break it down into smaller segments, it is much easier to wrap my head around.
I finished in 4:14:27. It wasn’t sub 4 like I was wanting, but until I get my hip flexor issues worked out, I don’t think I’m going to see that number. I am really happy with the race and how things went. Also, in regards to the Black Lives Matter protest, it wasn’t much of anything. They were located about a half mile from the finish behind a chain link fence, a row of police officers, and another lane of the road. They had signs and were saying something, but I had headphones in and couldn’t hear it. Fortunately it was all peaceful and handled really well.
I didn’t go into this goal with any pressure of a specific time I was after. I wanted to feel good and I wanted to think positively for a whole race. I high fived alot of kids and enjoyed the crowds instead of focusing on my watch. I only ever looked at it when I felt it vibrate when it hit a mile, and even then I didn’t look every time. It was nice to have a different focus and to enjoy it for what it was.
I’m going to enjoy this week and take some time off and rest, but still have some active recovery (and a massage!) as well. Then I’ll start back up next week for training for the Thunder Road marathon in 5.5 weeks!
What is the hardest part for you during a race – the mental or physical? What are some of your goals coming up? Anyone else run Twin Cities Marathon or Thunder Road?